Went to "Nursery School" at the I-Wireless Center this past Saturday. Had not registered because the last few things like this I've attended were kinda boring. They had been targeting sales rather than education or fun.
At the last minute a friend called and had a ticket available because someone cancelled. I figured "Oh what the heck - it will be fun to visit with the other two gardeners going in the same car."
Well surprise surprise, it turned out to be a lovely day both visiting and the classes.
I enjoy an honest gardener. Sounds simple, but, if they're also in the business of selling products or themselves; most often the gardener taints their talk with half truths or sucking the buck. None of that at this event.
The day started with author and Horticulture Manager for the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens www.botanicalcenter.com Kelly Norris, talking things he likes in gardens and why. Many of his pictures were from his own personal garden. Often during the day I heard a speaker say, "This is suppose to work in our Zone but I've never had any luck with it." Kelly was no different.
www.distinctivegardensinc.com presented Trendy Annuals and Perennials 2013. Bud is fun AND honest. Didn't hesitate to tell us "It's new and I haven't used it yet." Other than his typical tie-die shirts, Bud is especially known for his ability to do some really woozier container arrangements for the summer garden; he didn't disappoint. Bud hint: Successful container gardening means giving them good drainage.
Next a lunch that was near perfect. If you've ever ate big mega convention center food you know this was a huge surprise. Food was seasoned, cooked to perfection and presented formally. Service was quick and mannerly. SCORE!
Ken White of Corn Crib Nursery and Garden Center www.corncribnursery.com presented "Fruits in Your Garden." Ken understands our local fruit trees and bushes (brambles) well; talked planting, growing and pests. Seriously informative! Ken's advice:
Always buy disease resistant varieties.
Almost all fruit trees need another one for pollination (sometimes another variety).
www.milanflower.com doing a dizzying demo on flower arranging. Damien is an artist first and his medium of choice is fauna. Three hints from Damien:
- Put an Efferdent tablet in an old cloudy vase with water - let stand and it will be sparkly and good as new.
- Put a splash of Clorox in the water with your cut flowers to kill bacteria.
- Always cut flower stems under running warm water to fill the stems with water; otherwise it will fill with air and the flower will wilt.
Jeff Johnson, Sunnyfield Greenhouse and Garden Center, was also a speaker on "Sizing Up Your Landscape." www.sunnyfield.com Jeff also had a booth of pretty plants; one of many booths for all things gardening. The trick at these things is exactly how much weight in beautiful garden things can you haul around all day. I saw a lady with a homemade laundry cart on wheels, a wood top and pull handle. We all looked at it with envy! So ugly, so homemade, so perfect!
And, you know I'm all into shopping small and local. This was a perfect opportunity to get to know local garden businesses. Bought an extremely hardy (lifetime guarantee) pair of clippers from Red Barn Organics, Aledo IL. www.RedBarnOrganics.com They even come with their own little belt attachment - should I ever wear a belt while gardening..
I'm home and still reading all the garden catalogs, coupons and advertising we were given in our orange bag. Good job U of I Extension and the Rock Island County Master Gardeners! A choice of fifteen talks and all mine were great fun.
Flower photos taken by Nancy Anderson. Clipper photo from Red Barn Organics.